We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Transfer news: Chelsea confirm they are following Marseille midfielder Gianelli Imbula with possible £25m bid in the pipeline

One of the Blues' scouts Guy Hillion has confirmed he has been watching the France Under-21 star

Chelsea are keen on signing Marseille midfielder Gianelli Imbula, with the club’s senior scout Guy Hillion confirming he has been watching the youngster and has been impressed with what he saw.

Hillion admitted that the France Under-21s star is high up on the list of transfer targets at Stamford Bridge, and the Blues could make a move for him at the end of the season.

The Evening Standard is reporting that a bid of around £25m could be made for the 21-year-old defensive midfielder, who only joined the Ligue 1 side in the recent transfer window.

"I have seen [Imbula] often,” said Hillion. “As soon as he gets the ball he is able to accelerate and break through the lines".

"He covers well, has good technique, great vision of the game, with a very good quality pass and a great left foot.”

Imbula was voted the Ligue 2 player of the season after helping Guingamp gain promotion to the top-flight, and has earned comparisons in France with former Chelsea defender Claude Makelele, due to his combative playing style.

He signed for Marseille in the summer and president Vincent Labrune claimed at the time that the club had beaten a host of rivals, including Chelsea, to his signing.

Speaking to French newspaper L'Equipe, Labrune said: "We paid 7million Euros without add-ons for Imbula. Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco were keen to pay almost double.

"We would not have signed him without the willing of the player to join us. Players come here for the challenge. The wages do not lead them."